January 11, 2016
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Employers eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring hard-to-place job seekers

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a tax incentive for employers to hire some hard-to-place job seekers. Employers who help these individuals become economically self-sufficient by giving them a chance can apply to reduce their federal business taxes by thousands of dollars.

These categories of workers can qualify for the tax credit (contact Employment Security for details):

  • Public assistance recipients, if they meet the eligibility requirements for food stamps or Temporary Aid for Needy Families;
  • Several categories of needy or disabled military veterans;
  • Felons hired within a year of leaving prison, and those participating in work release;
  • People with disabilities who participate in state or vacation rehabilitation programs and who had an “individual written plan” for employment in the two years before being hired; and
  • Anyone who received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for any month in the 60 days before being hired.

Employers can reduce their federal business taxes by up to $2,400 for more eligible hires; up to $9,000 over two years for each qualifying welfare recipient who is hired; and up to $5,600 for more military veterans; and as much as $9,600 for hiring veterans who have a service-related disability.

This federal program was reauthorized last month in the federal budget deal, extending the WOTC through 2019.

In 2014, Washington employers saved nearly $72 million for hiring almost 27,000 eligible workers. Learn more and file online, or call the ESD’s help line at 800.339.3981, option 3.



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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere


Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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